By Ikeugonna Eleke
A group, Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, has warned that the high cost of cooking gas is pushing most Nigerian families back to the use of firewood and charcoal.
The group said the return to use of firewood for cooking would affect the ecosystem as indiscriminate felling of trees for firewood had begun in most communities.
In a press statement by the group which was signed by its President-General, Mr Goodluck Ibem, and made available to Fides in Awka, the group urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently wade into the high cost of cooking gas.
The group in the press statement expressed displeasure with the Federal Government over what it described as the escalated price of cooking gas from N350 to N800 per kilogramme, noting it was highly above the reach of the common man.
‘The Federal Government has no justifiable reason or reasons to inflict such level of hardship and suffering on Nigerian citizens who depend on this commodity to cook, eat and make a living.
‘It amounts to negligence and lack of proper planning on the part of the federal government to allow such essential commodity to rise above the reach of the common man. This blatant negligence by the federal government must be speedily addressed forthwith to avoid catastrophic consequences against our ecosystem,’ the group warned.
Ibem said before now, Nigerians were using the local means of cooking, which was firewood or charcoal, but that when cooking gas came on board, Nigerians quickly switched over to it which really helped in reforestation.
‘About 70 percent of Nigerians who were using gas for cooking are moving back to the use of firewood and charcoal which has increased pressure on our forests as trees are felled every minute of the day to produce firewood for cooking.
‘If something is not done immediately to reduce the price of cooking gas, there will be dire consequences on our forests and ecosystem.
‘We, as humans, depend on green plants for our daily supply of oxygen, while giving back carbon dioxide to the plants. If all the green trees are felled in an attempt to get firewood and charcoal, how will we survive without adequate oxygen in our blood system?’ the group queried.
It added that the negligence on the part of government would come at a heavy cost on forests and ecosystem and said something must be done immediately to salvage the situation.
‘We therefore call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately step in and address the outrageous increase in our cooking gas before things get out of hand. The time is now!’ it said.